Admissions: How Colleges Select Students

About this article
With the number of people wanting to attend college on the rise, schools are becoming more selective in whom they accept. This article contains information that introduces you, the potential student, to the college selection process.
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Admission officers evaluate applications in several different ways, depending on how competitive their college is. In terms of selectivity, colleges and universities fall into three basic categories:

  1. Less Selective
  2. More Selective
  3. Very Selective

Less Selective Colleges:

Less selective colleges usually determine your acceptance by posing two questions: have you met the college's basic requirements and does the college itself have availability? While not required for admission, ACT and/or SAT scores may be used for placement.

More Selective Colleges:

More selective colleges, which is the category most colleges fit into, have stricter standards. These colleges and universities look at the following:

  • Admission Test (ACT/SAT) Scores
  • Course Work
  • Grades
  • Letters of Recommendations (if requested)
  • Personal Statements/Essays

Very Selective Colleges:

Finally, very selective colleges evaluate students on all above-named criteria and more. Very selective colleges scrutinize every aspect of a student's high school experience. Many applicants that apply to very selective schools are already strong academically, thus factor such as your personal statement and transcript are critical.

In normal situations admission officers will follow what is called a need-blind admission policy. In other words, yours and your family's income is not a factor in determining whether you are accepted or not. In some cases, admissions officers are 'need conscious,' so at these schools you and your family's income is a factor.

Collegeboard.com states that selective colleges consider these factors for admission:

  • Admission Test (ACT/SAT) Scores
  • Alumni Relationship
  • Application Questions and Essays
  • Completed Courses
  • Counselor and/or Teacher Recommendations
  • Ethnicity
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Geographic Location
  • Grades
  • Grade Point Average
  • Major and/or College Chosen
  • Personal Interview
  • Rank in Graduating Class
  • Special Talents and Skills

Now that you have a better idea of what colleges are looking for, you will be able to meet these prerequisites with confidence.

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. Louisiana State University Shreveport

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization
      • Master of Business Administration - Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise Concentration
      • Master of Business Administration - Finance Concentration
      • Master of Business Administration - Human Resource Management Concentration
      • Master of Business Administration - Hospitality and Casino Management Concentration
      • Master of Business Administration - International Business Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    2. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
      • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
      • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
      • MSHS in Translational Microbiology
      • Masters in Interdisciplinary Secondary Transition Services
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
    Bachelor's
      • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
      • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences
      • BSHS in Biomedical Informatics
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA: Criminal Justice
      • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
      • BA: Liberal Studies
      • BA: Psychology
      • BA: Psychology - General
      • BS: Computer Science
    Associate's
      • AA: Criminal Justice
      • AA: Liberal Arts
      • AA: Business Administration
      • AA: Information Technology
      • AA: Cybersecurity
  • Campus Locations:
    4. American National University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
    Associate's
      • Business Administration Management - Associate
      • Medical Assisting - Associate
      • Network Administration - Associate
      • Paralegal
    Certificate
      • Accounting - Diploma
      • Business Administration - Diploma
      • Medical Office Professional - Diploma
      • Pharmacy Technician - Diploma
      • Phlebotomy - Diploma
      • Medical Billing and Coding - Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Finance
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
    Master's
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology
      • Master : Business Admin
      • Master of Public Health
      • MBA: Human Resources
      • MBA: Health Care Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
      • Bachelor: Nutrition Science
      • Accelerated MS in Finance Option
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Business
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • Associate: Accounting
    Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
      • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
      • Postbaccalaureate Certificate - Pathway to Paralegal
      • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
      • Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate
      • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate
  • Campus Locations:
    7. Lincoln Tech

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Automotive Technology
      • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
      • Electrical/Electronics
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Ecclesial Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Entrepreneurial Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Individualized
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Global Consulting
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Political Communication
      • Master of Arts in Communication - Strategic Communication
      • Master of Arts in Government - Political Communication
      • Master of Arts in Journalism
      • Master of Arts in Law - Business
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Rhetoric and Public Culture
      • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Strategic Communication
      • Bachelor of Arts in English - Communication
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Criminal Justice
      • Bachelor of Science in Business
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication
      • Master of Liberal Arts
      • Master of Arts in Science Writing
      • Master of Science in Applied Economics
      • Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems
      • Master of Science in Bioinformatics
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Teaching and Learning
      • Master of Project Management
      • Master of Finance
      • Master of Professional Accounting
      • Master - Information Technology Management
      • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Communication
      • BS - Human Services
      • BS - Accounting
      • BS - Project Management
      • BS - Marketing
      • Undergraduate Specialization - Criminal Forensics
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate - Human Resource Management
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Project Management
      • Graduate Specialization - Accounting
      • Graduate Certificate - Cyber Security

Featured Schools

Louisiana State University Shreveport

  • Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization
  • Master of Business Administration - Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise Concentration
  • Master of Business Administration - Finance Concentration

What is your highest level of education completed?

The George Washington University

  • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
  • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
  • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Leo University

  • BA: Criminal Justice
  • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
  • AA: Criminal Justice
  • AA: Liberal Arts

What is your highest level of education completed?

American National University

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Business Administration Management - Associate
  • Accounting - Diploma

What is your education level?

Georgetown University

  • Master of Science in Finance
  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate

What is your highest level of education completed?

Kaplan University

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • Master: Legal Studies
  • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
  • AASBA in Business
  • Medical Office Administration Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Lincoln Tech

  • Automotive Technology
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
  • Electrical/Electronics

What year did you graduate High School / Receive GED?

Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies

What is your highest level of education completed?